If you are a rookie in the NHL there are two thresholds to pass to play for the year
Step 1: Impress the coaches in training camp and make the opening day roster. This is arguably the hard part.
Step 2: Play more than 9 games. Clubs have to a tough decision at that point, if the rookie plays in a tenth game then they are committed for the year which counts against the 3 year (much cheaper) entry-level contract. Many clubs have to make a tough decision in the first 9 games whether or not the player is ready to play for a season or needs to go down (usually to the AHL affiliate) and wait another year.
Rookies who have already passed the 9 game threshold:
Clayton Keller (10 games) The #7 overall pick in 2016 currently leads all rookies with 11 points and will do everything in his power to carry the entire Coyotes team this year.
Mikhail Sergachev (11 games) The #9 overall pick in 2016 draft to the Montreal Canadiens is an asset to Tampa’s defense and a crucial part of their success. Not only is Mikhail solid defensively but he is 2nd amongst all rookies in points with 10.
Adrian Kempe (10 games) the #29 overall pick in 2014 is a welcome boost to LA’s offense (who is in for an up-hill battle this season), Adrian’s 6 goals in 10 games is a warm welcome to them (plus he played 25 games last year).
Mathew Barzal (10 games) as the #16 overall pick in 2015, he is showcased on the top line and seems to be working well with John Tavares. Given a good start, it makes sense that the Islanders kept him up.
Martin Frk (10 games) the #49 overall pick in 2012 has more than paid his dues in the ECHL (Toledo Walleye) and AHL (Grand Rapids Griffins) for 4 years and is showing a strong offensive knack for the Red Wings.
Jakub Vrana (10 games) the #13 overall pick in 2014 played 21 games last year so it’s more of a moot point with him but he’s off to a strong 5 points.
Rookies on the cusp
Brock Boeser (8 games) they pushed it to the brink with the #23 overall pick in the 2015 draft playing him for 9 games last year and now their potential best player has 9 points in 8 games and is their best young chance at serious point production. I hope they keep him up.
Will Butcher (8 games) The #123 overall pick in the 2013 draft has 9 assists in 8 games. Nico will surely stay up despite a slow-ish start, Will on the flip side I’m not 100% sure. The Devils have an unexpectedly strong start which would lead one to believe they will keep him up but his production is mostly power play driven and I wouldn’t call it absurd if they made a last minute move and sent him down. Ultimately I’d say 70% chance he stays up.
Sonny Milano (9 games) The Blue Jackets #16 overall pick in 2014 and top young talent will stay on, each chance he gets he produces.
Joel Eriksson-Ek (8 games) I expected a bit more from the #20 pick in 2015 but the team by and large has been bite by the injury bug so maybe there is some transition woes. The team needs his talent in the lineup so I imagine he stays on.
Charlie McAvoy (8 games) one of the top touted prospects has not disappointed with 7 points in his first 8 games. I imagine the Bruins will keep him up and continue to give him more exposure and playing time as the season progresses.
Alexander Kerfoot (9 games) The 4 year Harvard grad and #150 overall pick in 2012 is ready. Colorado is off to a good start and Alexander is heading up the 4th line and making his mark with 3 goals and 5 points in his first 9 games. By year end he will at LEAST be 3rd line center, maybe higher.
Nolan Patrick (9 games) the #2 overall pick in the 2017 draft will likely stay on but with an injury (head related) in his first 9 games and slow production, it wouldn’t be unheard of for the Flyers to let him play with the Phantoms for the year.
Still some time to decide
Kyle Connor (3 games). With 2 points in his first 3 games, the #17 overall pick in 2015 is off to a decent start. He played 20 games last year making this largely a moot point but his production is in question after just 5 points in 20 games last year.
Danton Heinen (4 games). Well 2 goals last night really vaulted him up some viewing charts. The #116 overall pick in 2014 out of U. of Denver played just 8 games last year and I’ll be curious if the Bruins keep him on for the whole season after a strong start.
Owen Tippet (4 games) the #10 overall pick in 2017 has done..ok in his first 4 games. He isn’t getting much playing time but did find the back of the net once. Jury is very much out here.
Kalle Kossila (2 games) the undrafted St. Cloud State grad played2 seasons in the AHL with the San Diego Gulls and has produced 2 points in his 2 games heading up the 4th line. He’s a fun player to watch and I’m cheering for him to make the roster.